posted by brian at 08:12 PM
After some more work and research into contouring algorithms, it still seems like a reasonable idea.
After that, it's just a matter of interpolating the crime density (so that levels in between high and low densities are created if they don't exist), smoothing the polygons, and drawing & coloring them with SVG.
I checked out a nice collection of research papers from KSL called Geometric Modelling which includes some contouring discussion. I plan to make another visit to the library this week to see if I can find anything helpful about the steps above. Googling for this stuff has been extremely helpful, but no single page has very comprehensive information, I just have to piece it together.
On the Case Forum Greg mentioned his idea for a Case geocoding service that would aggregate information from geocoding services such as Google Maps and the Case Wiki so that any Case web service could easily geocode local places (Andrew mentioned geocoding photos, for example). I think the crime log location parser fits this bill pretty nicely! The version in trunk has tons of Case-specific location parsing techniques that could save other web services a lot of work. It just needs to be put on a server that will accept strings and send back geocoded results.
More crime & mapping news to come...